On Wednesday of this week, the Jersey shore saw one of the most remarkable turn of events in this presidential election: the President of the United States and one of his most vocal critics this campaign working together one week before the election.
Hurricane Sandy has devastated large parts of New Jersey and New York City. The death toll in the United States is over 70 so far. The damage is estimated to be 50 billion dollars when you count lost economic activity.
The images of the devastation are staggering.
But the fact that President Obama and Governor Christie were clearly working well together also produced some promising images: those of Democrats and Republicans taking their jobs seriously to help people and work as professionals.
Governor Christie went out of his way to praise the work that the President and his administration are doing, something that he got a lot of credit for…outside of the right-wing blogosphere.
While Chris Christie and Barack Obama were talking about finding solutions to help people, there was a lot of snipping going on from those who want to continue the attack on the president.
Christie was criticized by some for allowing the president to visit New Jersey, let alone complimenting the president. They preferred that Christie act as a right-wing attack hack rather than a governor.
Other right-wing attack hack Romney surrogates like Reince Priebus and Jeb Bush did, continuing to attack the president as if nothing happened and the Romney campaign did not go one day without holding campaign events featuring their candidate.
The Romney campaign also used the tragedy to stage a cynical photo-op in Ohio. Following a Romney “victory rally”, attendees grabbed cans of food that had been supplied by the Romney campaign and handed them to Mitt Romney to put on a truck.
The campaign tried to sell the event as a food drive of sorts, but later reporting revealed that the campaign bought goods at a local WalMart to give to supporters to give to the campaign. It is the sort of stagecraft we have come to expect from a campaign that stages a photo-op at a soup kitchen to wash clean pots and pans.
And the preeminent Republican spokesperson on disasters, Michael “you’re doing a heck-of-a job Brownie” Brown, stepped out to criticize the administration for reacting “too quickly” to the storm.
Brown, as you may remember, is the political hack that organized rallies for George W. Bush before running FEMA and botching the response to Hurricane Katrina.
FEMA Director Craig Fugate responded that it was “better to be fast than to be late.”
So for a couple of days, at least, voters saw one of the big differences between candidate Romney and President Obama. Just as Romney could not help attacking Obama and trying to use a tragedy for his own political benefit after the Benghazi consulate incident, Romney again missed what was happening during and after Hurricane Sandy.
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.